ID cards are needed to fight crimes of today, says PM
TONY Blair yesterday moved to shore up his beleaguered ID cards scheme, insisting the multi-billion pound project is needed to tackle modern security threats.
Parliament approved ID cards earlier this year, but the scheme has been beset by problems including doubts about the final cost and leaked e-mails showing Whitehall officials' grave doubts about the viability of the project.
But the Prime Minister went on the offensive yesterday, insisting that the cards would help against terrorism, illegal immigration and fraud.
"In the end, we have a modern world that we are living in, that has new and different types of crime," he told a Downing Street press conference.
"If we don't use technology to combat it, then we won't be fighting crime effectively."
Mr Blair also said that the cards - which are due to be introduced in 2009 - will help control access to public services, although the Scottish Executive opposes any such use north of the Border.
The Prime Minister also has a political incentive for promoting ID cards: they are opposed by David Cameron, and Labour strategists believe that could cost the Conservatives popular support.
Mr Blair will build on that theme next week in his last Queen's Speech, which is expected to set out a raft of tough anti-terrorism laws.
Among the measures rumoured to be on the government's agenda are a fresh effort to extend the period during which terrorist suspects can be detained without charge, and possibly even a law that would allow wiretap or "intercept" material to be used as evidence in terrorist trials.
Yesterday, Mr Blair said only that the speech would make sure Britain has the "legal armoury" necessary to tackle international terrorism.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west